John Bul Dau, one of the thousands of African males in southern Sudan attacked in the 1980s and '90s by the Arab Sudanese government, came to UW-Milwaukee to speak about his experience.
Attending this lecture was beyond anything I could have imagined. His story is gruesome, horrific, and one of the saddest events I've ever heard.
Since the release of the 2006 movie "God Grew Tired of Us: The Lost Boys of Sudan," Dau has been traveling throughout the United States, spreading his story through his book (same title as the movie) and his own words.
At the age of 13, Dau was awaken in the middle of the night to the sound of gun shots and bullets whistling through the air. When he ran outside, his neighbor pulled him to the ground and he watched quietly as northern Sudanese militias raided his village. Unable to go back home, Dau marched to Ethiopia, a journey more than 1,000 miles long.
Along the way he ate only roots and wild plants, drank his own urine and traveled naked with thousands of other boys and men. Several times refugee camps were found along the way, but eventually the north Sudanese drove them out.
Sicknesses like malaria, measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough plagued thousands as so many died each day. Many young boys went crazy and others were killed.
For five years, Dau traveled through the desert, starving and sick.
Finally, hope was rewarded when he reached Kenya in 1992. Here, he found food, shelter, clothing, medical help and school. At the age of 17, Dau started his education and obtained hi high school degree at 20.
Then, at 21, Dau was selected by American people to come and live in America, where he could start a new life, away from the suffering and torture.
Because of his strength and will to aid those still over in Sudan, Dau has created many foundations such as the Sudanese Lost Boy Foundation and American Care for Sudan. He has raised over $350,000 to build another clinic in southern Sudan and is in the process of another $450,000 to build another clinic and school.
To learn more about John Bul Dau and to help his cause, go to www.volvoforlifeaward.com. An article will also be in UW-Milwaukee's campus newspaper The Post this upcoming week, which goes into more detail.